MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Ruth Andrew PhD
Chair of Pharmaceutical Endocrinology
University/BHF Centre for Cardiovascular Science
Queen’s Medical Research Institute
University of Edinburgh
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Our research group has been interested for a number of years in how stress hormones (called glucocorticoids) influence the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Glucocorticoids help us control stress and regulate how the body handles its fuel, for example the carbohydrate and fat we eat. However exposure to high levels of glucocorticoids, can increase the risk of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.
We studied men with prostate disease who took 5α-reductase inhibitors, because over and above the beneficial actions of these drugs in the prostate, they also slow down inactivation of glucocorticoids. We had carried out some short term studies with the drugs in humans and found that they reduced the ability of insulin to regulate blood glucose. Therefore in the study we have just published in the BMJ, we examined how patients receiving these drugs long-term responded and particularly we were able to show that over an 11 year period that there was a small additional risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the type of disease common in older people, compared with other types of treatments. Continue reading